Ice skating promotes postural control in children

Keller, Martin ; Röttger, K. ; Taube, Wolfgang

In: Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 2014, vol. 24, no. 6, p. e456-461

High fall rates causing injury and enormous financial costs are reported for children. However, only few studies investigated the effects of balance training in children and these studies did not find enhanced balance performance in postural (transfer) tests. Consequently, it was previously speculated that classical balance training might not be stimulating enough for children to adequately... More

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    Summary
    High fall rates causing injury and enormous financial costs are reported for children. However, only few studies investigated the effects of balance training in children and these studies did not find enhanced balance performance in postural (transfer) tests. Consequently, it was previously speculated that classical balance training might not be stimulating enough for children to adequately perform these exercises. Therefore, the aim of this study is to evaluate the influence of ice skating as an alternative form of balance training. Volunteers of an intervention (n = 17; INT: 13.1 ± 0.4 years) and a control group (n = 13; CON: 13.2 ± 0.3 years) were tested before and after training in static and dynamic postural transfer tests. INT participated in eight sessions of ice skating during education lessons, whereas CON participated in normal physical education. Enhanced balance performance was observed in INT but not in CON when tested on an unstable free-swinging platform (P <  0.05) or when performing a functional reach test (P < 0.001). This is the first study showing significantly enhanced balance performance after ice skating in children. More importantly, participating children improved static and dynamic balance control in postural tasks that were not part of the training.